Morocco/ 3.4 International cultural co-operation  

3.4.3 European / international actors and programmes

Alongside government sectors, French, American and Spanish cultural delegations, the following agencies are also present in Morocco:


  • French Cultural Centre— twelve branches all over the Kingdom
  • British Council—two branches in Rabat and Casablanca
  • American Cultural Center—two branches in Rabat and Casablanca
  • German Cultural Centre—three branches in Rabat, Casablanca and Tangier
  • Spanish Cultural Centre—five branches in Rabat, Casablanca, Tangier, Fes and Tetouan
  • Italian Cultural Centre—one branch in Rabat
  • Russian Cultural Centre—one branch in Rabat
  • Egyptian Cultural Centre—one branch in Rabat

Foreign cultural delegations provide education in their national languages and manage their own curricula. These delegations are very popular amongst Moroccans. Cultural centres are active in language teaching, staging artistic events like exhibitions, concerts, and plays, and cultural weeks.

The Daba Morocco Festival (“daba” meaning “now” in colloquial Moroccan) was hosted in Belgium from 9 October, 2012, until 31 January, 2013. This festival—a three-month long culture and arts season—aimed to introduce the culture of Morocco through the participation of 150 creators and artists presenting 16 screenings in the fields of literature, music, and cinema, as well as contemporary expressions such as modern dance.

The festival’s Moroccan and Belgian organisers included: The Moroccan Ministries of Culture, Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Expatriate Council and its international affiliates (the Wallonia-Brussels delegation, the Ministry of Culture and Audio-Visual Communication, and the Wallonia-Brussels Federation). It aimed to display cultural and artistic modernity to Moroccans in Morocco and Belgium alike through listening to rising talent, especially among second and third generations in different creative styles. It also aimed to open discussion between the generations and put forth the current issues that the Moroccan community abroad deals with. The opening ceremony was attended by the Moroccan Minister of Culture, Muhammad Amin Al Sabihi, the Minister of Culture from the Wallonia-Brussels Federation, Fadila Lanan, the ambassador of Morocco to Belgium and Luxembourg, Samir Dahr, and the General Director of the National Library, Idris Khuruz, as program coordinator.

The continued cultural cooperation between Morocco and Spain also deserves praise. On 15 October, 2012, preparations were launched for a heritage centre in Tetouan’s ancient city attended by a delegation from the Spanish city of Malaga. The project aimed to preserve the rich heritage of the old city’s civilisation, including its oral, written and material traditions. It also aimed to preserve and enrich the city’s general heritage as a basic factor of local development. The project purported to merge this heritage within a strategic framework for sustainable development, such as the creation of new spaces to welcome traditional industrial activity and the preparation of space to revitalise the city’s intellectual and cultural legacy.

The project was also a part of the international cooperation program that joins together the Malaga region of southern Spain with northern Morocco to develop the old city of Tetouan’s patrimonial buildings and to return it to its touristic and historic vitality. The first stage of the project concerns preparing the centre’s building, equipping it for various cultural activities, and providing space to display products that demonstrate the culture that abounds in the Tetouan region.

Despite of the fact that Sweden does not typically figure into Morocco’s cultural priorities in the same way France and Spain do, the Kingdom’s National Library received a gift from the embassy of Sweden in Rabat. It included books translated into Arabic and French from the 2011 Nobel prize-winning Swedish poet, representing the consecration of diplomatic relations between Morocco and Sweden.

The gift included the poet’s complete works from 1954-2002, eight of which were translated into Arabic. The titles will be uploaded to the National Library’s electronic portal and put on display in the Grand Reading Hall and researcher space. These books and documents mean a lot to Morocco, as expressed by the director of the library, Mr Idris Khuruz. Both Morocco and Sweden expressed their esteem for their strong partnership.

Annually, Morocco holds a number of cultural days and cultural weeks for many Arab, African, and European countries with which it has agreements and friendship treaties.

France sets aside significant resources for cultural cooperation with Morocco (€5.5 million, or around 22% of their total annual budget for cultural cooperation and activities) in order to:

  • Offer consultation and objective expertise to the Moroccan foundation for cultural development.
  • Capacity-build for artists and specialists .
  • Diversify ties with Moroccan society and link cultural exchange with a comprehensive policy that target ordinary people .
  • Develop institutional partnerships to improve the efficiency Moroccan cultural development.
  • Contribute in creating a suitable cultural environment.
  • Assume responsibility for local communities’ participation in French-Moroccan joint cultural affairs.

In order to achieve these goals, French cultural institutions inside Morocco apply the following policies:

Print Matter
The Book and Media Office assumes four main duties to apply France's print-matter policies in Morocco:

  • Coordinate with the French media to ensure efficiency and quality of services in all French institutions in Morocco.
  • Offer support to promote reading in Morocco and provide the equipment necessary to maintain the highest quality standards.
  • Encourage Moroccan writers and publishers to promote reading and writing.
  • Award the “Prix Grand Atlas” to Arab literature written in French. In 2014 the prize celebrated its 21st edition.     

Cinema and Audio-visual
Franco-Moroccan cooperation in the fields of filmmaking, audio-visual technology, press and multimedia, aims to meet structural and informational needs, and to support production. This cooperation is manifested in several integrated forms:

  • Francophone presence in all TV and radio networks via MEDI 1 TV and Radio.
  • Inclusion of French films in cultural festivals and events.
  • Capacity-building and specialised training for workers in the audio-visual sector and support production.
  • Scholarships and overseas training for workers in the audio-visual sector.
  • Film festivals in Morocco and France to enhance vocational exchange.

Live Arts
The French Embassy offers an array of scholarships and training for young Moroccan artists in the following fields: music, dancing, theatre, and plastic arts. It also supports the formation of Moroccan students at L'Institut Supérieur d'Art Dramatique et d'Animation Culturelle. In addition, the House of Arts in Paris has renewed its commitment to receive Moroccan artists in coordination with the Moroccan MoC. Since 2007, the Cultural Cooperation Office at the French Embassy has been taking part in re-establishing musical structure in Morocco.

The French Embassy supports a number of plastic arts, musical activities (the Moroccan Philharmonic Orchestra, Rabat Chorus and Festival De Musiques et Rythmes Du Monde, A Rabat) and contemporary dancing (by supporting creative projects of dance designers in Marrakesh and Casablanca).

The French Embassy seeks to strengthen the advising capacity of its cultural institutions by showing French live arts. The Embassy also supports a number of Moroccan cultural activities such as the Fes Sacred Music Festival, the World Music Festival, the Kanawa Festival in Chaouia, and the Titmar Festival in Agadir. Since 2006, the Embassy has been supporting an international dance gathering in Marrakesh organised by Ananya.

Franco-Moroccan cooperation in heritage preservation is primarily based on offering expertise, advice and capacity-building to workers in this arena.  The French Embassy offers:

Specialised capacity-building through higher education scholarships for students of the High National Institute for Antiquities and Heritage. This was established through a 2004 contract and a continuous plan, developed in 2008.

Cooperation in many heritage-related sectors includes:

  • Archaeology—The 2008 Agreement aims to improve management of archaeological sites in cooperation with the MoC’s Directorate of Heritage and the French Ministry of Communications.
  • Museums—The agreement with the MoC’s Directorate of Heritage has been expanded to include museums.  The current projects underway are the Archaeology Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Arts in Rabat and museums in Fes, Meknes and Marrakesh.
  • Inventory—In 2008 a program that aims to catalogue artistic heritage was announced.

Cultural centres in Morocco continue their unique dynamic through programming cultural, artistic, and linguistic activities all year long. Three activities held recently are worth pointing out: the first involves the French Embassy; the second and third have to do with the Spanish and German cultural institutes.

  1. The embassy of France in Rabat granted le Prix Grand Atlas for 2012 on 19 October, 2012, to the author Mohamed El Ouardi for his novel The Cursed Village in the category of Francophone fiction. Mohamed El Ammari was also awarded a prize for his translation of the novel La Vie est Ailleurs (Life is Elsewhere) by Milan Kundera. This award, granted by the French embassy for the nineteenth year in a row, was for books published in Morocco between January 2010 and June 2012 and nominated by publishers. The nominees are considered by the decision committee, which strives for a balanced representation of the role of the publisher, just as it looks into the precision of the presentation standards of each work.

  2. The Cervantes Institute in Rabat presented its new program “More Culture” for the first time  bringing together a series of applied workshops open to Moroccans, in cooperation with institutions and professionals. The program opened with the Free School for Movement Arts Project organised in partnership with the embassy of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela in Morocco, and the Ministry of Popular Power of the Venezuelan government. The project was comprised of three dance workshops that could be taken alone or all together. The workshops were organised in Rabat on 18 October, 2012.

  3. The Goethe Institute and the British Cultural Council, in partnership with the French Institute and the Dutch embassy in Morocco held meetings on 19 and 20 October, 2012, on the financing of Moroccan cinema and programs for the integration of young talent in the professional field in Rabat with European and Arab funders. This initiative aimed to benefit film professionals and film school students in Morocco. 

Chapter published: 05-05-2016